Empowering and enhancing the position of women in energy

Empowering and enhancing the position of women in energy

Women in business and government generally have significantly expanded their presence over the past few decades. But there is still a long way to go for the consolidation of women’s position in the business world and government, realizing their true potential and ensuring gender parity through effective measures and actions beyond mere rhetoric. Women in business and government generally have significantly expanded their presence over the past few decades. But there is still a long way to go for the consolidation of women’s position in the business world and government, realizing their true potential and ensuring gender parity through effective measures and actions beyond mere rhetoric. 

The outlook for women in the energy sector is no better. In fact, there are fewer women working in influential positions in the energy sector than other sectors. There is thus a pressing need to bring in more women, to promote those already in the industry, and to prepare future generations to fill the talent gap.

Energy is an important engine of economic growth and shared prosperity depends on it. Energy and associated sectors are currently in a process of dramatic transformation that calls for new approaches, talents and business models. Gender diversity in decision-making in this important sector is therefore imperative for creating a new future for energy that embraces inclusion, innovation and transparency.

Recognizing that energy encompasses a wide range of expertise and disciplines from the environment, technology, science and marketing to government relations, law and regulation, trading and finance, we underline the importance of the following measures:

- Increasing awareness and the attractiveness of the energy sector among young women, using all available avenues including print and electronic media.

- Including energy as a key curriculum in education establishments (both tertiary and TVET) and building capacities for women at all ages.

- Initiating mentorship and coaching schemes for women in energy, from the apprenticeship level to the board level.

- Strengthening the demand side of finance to support women-led business and strengthening capacity among women energy entrepreneurs.

- Motivating young women to pursue careers not only in traditional energy but also in nuclear energy, renewable energy, and other innovative sectors.

- Encouraging energy companies to apply positive discrimination in favor of women during recruiting.

- Supporting international exchanges among women’s groups active in energy around the world.

Actions speak louder than words. So we call on government officials, business and international organization leaders to do the following:

- Develop specific action plans in light of expectations and priorities and declare them in a transparent manner so that they can be tracked and assessed.

- Allocate a specific budget toward supporting these efforts and provide regular progress reports on the issue.

- We salute the decision of the current Canadian Presidency of the G7 to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment as a theme to be integrated throughout the works of the G7 and in ministerial meetings in 2018.

- The Bosphorus Energy Club will communicate this declaration to all relevant stakeholders, monitoring progress in these areas and producing a survey on achievements and shortcomings, in order to raise awareness among energy leaders on what needs to be done to achieve tangible improvements in women’s position in energy and related areas.

- We will strive to achieve synergy with existing and planned initiatives targeting the same objectives around the world, thus creating powerful partnerships.

- The Bosphorus Energy Club will select a senior women executive as the chairperson for this initiative, which will be followed up with further actions. It will form an international advisory board to support this decision, so please propose competent and willing candidates for these roles. 

* Mehmet Öğütçü is chairman of the Bosphorus Energy Club, which endorsed this declaration at its last meeting on March 27.

Mehmet Öğütçü, hdn, Opinion, Turkey